AFC Notes: Ryan Kelly, Shad Khan, Jeffery Simmons, Colts, Jaguars, Titans


Colts C Ryan Kelly said OL coach Tony Sparano Jr. established a personal connection with players before focusing on football. In the end, Kelly feels Sparano built much trust with their offensive linemen. 

“I think after the ’22 season, Tony came in, saw that room for what it was, and it was still a lot of great players but not a lot of confidence, and I think there’s a lot of multitude of reasons for that,” Kelly said via ColtsWire. “So when he came in, the first day that we came in last year around this time, it was not even about football Xs and Os, it was about real personal stuff. Guys get into that because if you can’t build a relationship in there, then how can you build it out there? And I think that was a good part for us to trust Tony to trust us. And also, he just empowered us to go play. I think that starts with Shane, starts with Tony, starts with Jim Bob. Is to just go out there and play, and just trust our technique, trust that we’re great players and play together.”


Jaguars owner Shad Khan said he has an opinion on who should call offensive play calls between HC Doug Pederson and OC Press Taylor but doesn’t want to be authoritative on the matter. 

“Yeah, I have an opinion,” Khan said, via Mark Long of the Associated Press. “But I don’t want to tell people ‘We need to do it’ because then things don’t work out, they look at me and say, ‘We did it because you wanted it.’”

In the end, Khan will leave that decision up to Pederson. 

“Doug, he’s empowered,” Khan said. “I’m going to let him decide.”

Regarding key players like Trevor Lawrence, Christian Kirk, and Zay Jones missing time due to injuries last year, Khan said it was a cause of “self-reflection” on how they can do a better job at preventing injuries. 

“Injuries are a part of the game,” Khan said. “We had some of those injuries, but I think it’s organizational failure that it happened. All of these players I talked to, it’s like how could this happen? What happened? For me, it’s really a cause for self-reflection and then something good to come out of it because we just can’t have that this year.”


When appearing on the Rich Eisen Show, Titans DT Jeffery Simmons said he has a reputation of talking trash during games. 

“I’ve had the ref come to me with like ‘you have to calm it down,'” Simmons said. “Sometimes, the ref probably heard me really talking smack. He’s like ‘nine-eight, calm down.’ It’s been like that a couple times.”

When asked about their season-opener against the Bears, Simmons said he’s already targetted rookie QB Caleb Williams for having painted fingernails. 

“Painted nails. I can’t wait to say that to him,” Simmons said. “Most definitely. Oh, it’s gonna be one of them games. I mean, he probably gets smack-talked by his teammates right now, but especially a game like that. My first game, of course I missed the last end of the season. … It’s gonna be the first game of the season. They’ve got us coming to Chicago. All the hype’s gonna be around them of course. I think when special, even prime-time games … everybody just counts Tennessee out, which we all know. A game like Chicago, I’m sure (they’re) thinking we ’bout to get beat bad. That also make me even talk more smack and boost me up a little more, get into a different mode, as well. I’ll be in a different mode that game. I get it. You’ve got a first-round pick like Caleb Williams, which is a great player. Watching a couple games when he was at USC, he’s a hell of a player. But it’s a different league, and I’m excited to play him the first game.”

Simmons wants to set the tone for the Titans’ defense throughout the season, not just in Week 1 against Williams. 

“That’s the goal. That’s my mindset,” Simmons said. “Then again, I really don’t care who it may be. If it could be Tom Brady‘s first game of the season, I want to go out there and set the tone, not just for him but for who we are trying to be as a defense and as a team in Tennessee. Like you said, it’s one of them games where it’s his first real NFL game. Just hopefully, (I’m) not out to hurt no one, but our goal is to get to him and, like you said, welcome him to the NFL.”

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